Police search for suspect wanted for attempted arson of first responder vehicles

- Police say they are searching for a suspect who attempted to set vehicles on fire in a city garage. Police have released surveillance video of the man believed to be involved. 

It sits directly beneath the 12th Police District and Engine 40 headquarters at 65th and Woodland, a little known city garage, used by police, firefighters and city employees. Sometime early Wednesday morning it was the target of an arsonist.

"It's alarming. This person could have caused a significant tragedy here," Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross said.

Investigators tell FOX 29 a flammable liquid was poured on four city vehicles, three cars belonging to firefighters and two belonging to officers at the 12th. Then, someone tried to ignite them.

"Could have harmed a number of individuals, both in that station, as well as potentially on that block," Commissioner Ross said.

Sources also say detectives and the city's Arson Task Force discovered that gas tanks on the vehicles had also been tampered with at least one rag doused in flammable liquid was ignited and found at the scene.

"You've got an attempt to ignite it as they're departing that garage area so clearly they were looking to create a whole lot of catastrophe down there," Commissioner Ross said.

Police are checking nearby surveillance cameras, but they aren't sure why the garage was targeted. The building also houses the Streets Department and the 10th survey division along with dozens of police officers and firefighters..

Commissioner Ross says security improvements will be looked at.

"Obviously, we'd be remiss if we didn't take that into consideration.

He's also asking for the public's help to catch the suspect.

"It's an individual we have to get off the street. they've already demonstrated how dangerous they can be," Commissioner Ross said.

A $15,000 reward is being offered for information leading to an arrest and conviction. 

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